ISLE ROADWAY SAFETY
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Keneke Timoteo prepared cement for paint yesterday as contractors were finishing placement of concrete barriers to separate opposite directions of traffic between Hakimo and Kaukama roads.
1,400 concrete blocks aim to end a string of fatal accidents on a stretch of Farrington Highway
Rep. Michael Kahikina says "hopefully we're going to save some lives" once the state completes a concrete medial barrier on Farrington Highway today to block head-on motor vehicle collisions.
There have been several fatalities over the years at Maili Point as westbound motorists speeding around the bend cross the center line and crash into oncoming traffic.
The state Department of Transportation is placing 1,400 blocks along the 1-mile stretch between Hakimo and Kaukama roads. The blocks are the same as the ones used for the Zipper Lane. Each weighs 1,500 pounds, and they are connected like a chain.
"It actually is not ugly. It's quite pleasant," said state Sen. Colleen Hanabusa (D, Nanakuli-Makua), who took the lead five years ago to secure funding for the project.
The state still needs to anchor the Kaukama Road end of the barrier to the roadway, install protective guardrails at both ends, add lights to the makai side of the highway and put up new signs, said Scott Ishikawa, state transportation spokesman.
But many area residents are happy the concrete barrier is complete.
"For years people have been screaming about doing something there. I think this is the best solution," Kahikina (D, Kalaeloa-Nanakuli) said.
There were two bus stops on the makai side of the highway between Kaukama and Hakimo roads. Transportation officials closed one stop and moved the other one closer to Hakimo Road.
"We were concerned pedestrians might try to jump over the barrier to get to the bus stops just as motorists round the blind curve," Ishikawa said.
The project started last year when the state widened the roadway and strengthened the foundation to accommodate the weight of the concrete blocks. The state chose the Zipper Lane blocks because of their ability to move enough to absorb the force of an impact, Ishikawa said. If cars strike a solid barrier, they would bounce back into traffic, he said.
The concrete barriers on Kalanianaole Highway near the entrance of Olomana Golf Links are bigger and heavier. At some point they will need to be replaced, and the state will consider the Zipper Lane blocks, Ishikawa said.
The Maili Point project cost $7.6 million. The state is paying 20 percent, and the federal government is paying the rest, Ishikawa said.